3/25/20 FM (age 71) called the SVDP helpline and asked for a space heater. Since all utility companies in MO had agreed not to disconnect clients during the pandemic, our phone volunteer was at first confused by the request and told FM she could turn up her thermostat. Due to the stay-at-home order, SVDP was doing “virtual home visits” with in-depth phone calls so a home visit volunteer left several messages with FM before she finally responded 10 days later. Turns out FM was very susceptible to pneumonia, and needed to be in a warmer environment than most people, so much so that her doctor wrote a letter to her previous employer explaining why she be allowed to wear a coat and scarf at work. FM already had a heater/air purifier on hold at a local hardware store. FM had also contacted a local agency that helps seniors, Aging Best, and had secured $100 of the cost thru a grant especially for elderly women. SVDP covered the rest of the cost ($150) of the heater/purifier and delivered the unit to FM’s garage. FM was very grateful but she also wondered if SVDP could find her a piano so she could play hymns while at home under pandemic lockdown. With the Holy Spirit’s help, maybe so!
3/12/20 This was our last actual home visit before the Coronavirus struck Boone County and the mayor enacted a stay-at-home order. The home visit team met J(age 50) and her friend R(age 52) at a local homeless shelter. They talked a little about how they ended up there – R went downhill emotionally after caring for his ailing mother and she passed away. J had a college degree and had once held various middle-class jobs before illness and other challenges sent her life sliding downhill. The pair had a strong belief in God and attended the local Catholic Church when they could. R was employed at a factory, J was recuperating from hand surgery and in training for a support job in the mental health field. Unfortunately their poor financial histories made landlords wary of taking a chance on them. After several apartments fell thru they finally got an OK and SVDP helped them with part of the first month’s rent. They were thrilled to finally get their own place! Two weeks later the volunteer got a text from the couple that they had gotten married!
3/1/2020 Mr. J (age 64) had gastrointestinal surgery last fall due to cancer. When he came home from the hospital he received eviction notice from his landlord with 2 weeks notice to leave. His SSI income was very meager, but a kind landlord (whom SVDP had helped years ago!) allowed Mr. J to rent a unit with the hope that Mr. J’s caseworker could secure rent funds. The funds for that grant ran out but SVDP volunteers came to the rescue! Two SVDP home visit volunteers met Mr. J at his new apartment, listened to his story and prayed with him. The next day a volunteer drove Mr. J to the water district office and paid to get his water turned on (he had been living with no running water for over a month) and then paid his first month’s rent. Mr. J’s doctor was concerned because he had started to lose weight post-surgery, so the volunteer also took him to get groceries, as his food stamp allotment was only $50 per month.